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Sunday, November 7, 2010

234: "PEMDAS (The Order of Operations Song)" by Ms. Wong's 4th Grade Class

The second labor-intensive, long-term, Broome-family-centric project to be completed and posted here in as many days. There may be some argument as to whether or not this is, strictly speaking, a "cover", since I created the backing track and composed the music, and I'll flat out admit that vocal you hear on my version is the scratch track I recorded for the demo that evolved into the final track with the kids on it, but I finished the class version first, and the song is intended to be heard as their performance, so I consider the one with my vocals secondary. Whatever... I put a lot of work into this and though it deserved to be heard here on 39-40.

It's the result of about a month and some change's worth of volunteer teaching and recording in Miranda's class at Hancock Park Elementary. The sessions were roughly once weekly, and they progressed quickly: the first one was a songwriting overview... by the second one the kids had written verses about what they were studying in math class (I'm quite sure they'll never forget this concept now!) and we spent an hour hammering the rhymes into uniform meter and grafting them onto this song that I was pretty much making up on the spot. The third week, in a whirlwind session before the class left for an early field trip, I recorded all of the full-class vocals in the classroom with my ad-hoc "portable" "studio"; Miranda wasn't even there, but the same session yielded the backing vocals on my cover of "Magick Power". At the fourth session I tried to get as many of the kids' individual lead vocals as possibe, leaving Miranda's to do at home for the sake of expediency in the classroom. But last week I was, as documented pathetically here, very sick and didn't even get to see Miranda and Ridley as a result, but I'm just now winding down a bonus weekend with them and was able to record Miranda's invaluable vocals (including a some real rump-saving bridging parts) and the window dressing stuff like the horns and lead guitar, and it's finally done. The class gets to hear it tomorrow, so I still have a busy day of burning CDR's ahead of me tomorrow, but it's been fun.

Some of my favorite questions and comments from the kids:
"Mr. Broome, did you ever play an electric guitar?"
"Mr. Broome, how are you so young?" (I still don't get that one, but like three kids asked me about it.)
"My mom said the song was catchy." "My mom said it was annoying!"
"Mr. Broome, you have hair like a Beatle. Maybe you can be a Beatle if they need somebody new."
"Um, my cousin? Has a guitar? And he plays it? And he has a band."

I'll come back here and add a full list of the students when I have one, so the following personnel list is far from complete...

Personnel (Class Version):
Vocal soloists in order of appearance:
Costya ? ~ "Talkin' 'bout math class"
Miranda Broome ~ "If you find yourself..."
Ryan Yoon ~ "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally"
Angela Lee ~ "Parentheses"
Leigh ? ~ "Penguins Exercise Monthly..."
Margad Bayarmagnai ~ "Multiplication"
Aleyana Ndiaye ~ "Division"
Natalie Darsson ~ "Addition"
Dee Green ~ "Subtraction"

Backing vocals and percussion by the whole class.
Backing track by Rex Broome.
Written by the class with Rex Broome.

Personnel (Rex version) ~ as above except all lead vocals by Rex.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking the same thing about your Beatle hair and Beatle availability.

    This song is great!